Amazon announces the Echo Plus smart speaker with built-in Smart Home Hub

Amazon today announced an updated version of their Echo speaker called the Echo Plus. The new device looks the same as the original Echo that you’re probably familiar with, but the big difference with this new Echo Plus is that it doubles as a smart home hub.

The Echo Plus offers improved speakers over the original Echo and now also has Dolby processing for even better sound. It has the same familiar tubular shape, but the most important change is on the inside.

Alexa is able to connect to a wide assortment of smart home devices through the cloud, but many of those devices require their own specific hubs to connect those devices to the cloud. The most common example of this is the Philips Hue hub which is necessary to use any Philips Hue products.

The new Echo Plus acts like a universal hub by connecting directly to a wide assortment of smart home devices that normally require a hub, without needing the hub. Right now the ZigBee hub specification is supported, which covers many products such as Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, SYLVANIA SMART+, and more.

The Echo Plus is available to pre-order today for $149.99 and will be released on October 31. It comes in the usual Black or White of the original Echo, but adds a new Silver color to the lineup.

For a limited time, Amazon is including a Philips Hue bulb for free with purchases of the Echo Plus. This hub normally requires the Philips Hue hub to work, but will be discovered by the Echo Plus without needing a hub.

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8 comments
  1. Dayton says:

    Besides Alexa, is there anything I can do with this that I cannot do with the Hue hub. I already have a Philips hub.

  2. Reflex says:

    We need a list of exactly what protocols it supports. I have two hubs, Hue and Wink. I’d love to get rid of both of them.

    Also interested in whether or not this has upgraded audio quality.

  3. Holger says:

    Yeah, this might push the whole idea of a central smart home hub to a wider audience – BUT I cannot believe that this will be limited to ZigBee- and IP-based devices or the integration of IP-based addtl. hubs only.

    Bluetooth (the new 5.0 Mesh Standard has just been released) might/should be in (at least via software updates later), Thread might be the same (based on the same R/F HW as ZigBee).

    But what about Z-Wave? Yeah, I admit that 80% of my smart home investment (in the thousands) and effort (man-weeks) went into Z-Wave sensors and actors (around 50 and counting) and their integration / interaction. ZigBee investment is significantly lower, although I run around 25 ZigBee devices in my smart home already.

    What about the “routines” – how will they be “programmed” and how does the integration of new devices work (open documented interfaces / APIs)?

    Will this allow “local” R/F integration w/o cloud services/intermediaries?

    The later is sth. I prefer, because that whole IoT (Internet of Things) hype forgets, that once there is no internet connection or one of the “integrated” cloud services is down, you might still want to be able to turn off the light or start the heating system – just saying…

    @Elias: Interesting times – please keep closely watching that smart home space for us…

  4. AR says:

    nice but i still think the echo is too big
    i hope they at least integrate the same thing into the echo gen 2, the smaller one that was posted here yesterday

    i already have a hub bridge (gen1)i just bought a ST hub too(also gen 1), but looks like this has no zwave a the poster above has pointed out

    seems like it is not worth it to change everything around now

    if it could control my broadlink devices without the RM plugin bridge app i am using now and if it has built in RF control and they make it in the mid size model i would definitely buy it
    sell my RM pro and just get RM mini blackbeans instead
    unless amazon can come out with a sub $10 IR device that is better
    if it was the mid size echo speaker and had zware and RF and had cheap IR devices like the RM mini i would be sold , especially in the silver color

    i just hope that this does not create a fractured platform here

    i do not know why they never released a device timer function for alexa
    like “alexa turn kitchen lights off at 12 o’ clock”

    now i hope it was not because they will force you to upgrade for such features, features that should be possible with the existing hardware

    i am sure there would be workarounds anyways though

    i can see amazon getting into the IOT smart home automation business big time now
    with their own outlets , sensors ,cameras ,IR devices ,etc

    i just really wish they would hurry up and come out with a cheap chrome cast audio like dongle 1st

  5. JoeB says:

    Samsung has a special deal for the SmartLink that converts Nvidia Shield into a Hub for only $15 (presuming you already have Nvidia Shield)

    https://shop.smartthings.com/smartthings-link

  6. Bumbo Diddy says:

    ZigBee, not Z-Wave Plus, really Amazon? /facepalm.

  7. Itzme says:

    Like several folks here I already have a Phillips Hub. I do want another Echo for my upstairs, but for me it comes down to which all have the best speaker sound.

  8. Fred_EM says:

    .

    …and you still need an app for that … to make it work in its full capacity.

    Voice commands alone will not do it.

    That being said, the original Philips apps are pretty basic and non-aspirantional.
    Should be easy to do better than that.

    .

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